By all measures, both the Google Pixel 6 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are two of the best phones to come out this year. Regardless of which one users buy, the experience should be fantastic. But that's not going to stop enthusiasts from comparing the two side-by-side to see which one ekes out a performance win.
Such tests can also create surprises. Take this recent comparison between the Pixel 6 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, in which Google's custom Tensor chip holds its own against Apple's mighty A15 Bionic.
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In a video posted by YouTube channel PhoneBuff (h/t wccftech), a robotic arm is used to run through a suite of apps on both the Pixel 6 Pro and iPhone 13. The test involves opening and closing 16 different apps. Whichever phone opens, loads and closes all 16 apps the fastest wins. In an unexpected result, the Pixel 6 Pro winds up trailing the iPhone by a mere 5.22 seconds.
That's a pretty surprising result given other benchmarks we've seen, including our own. In our Pixel 6 benchmark testing, Google's new Tensor chip matched the performance of phones powered by the Snapdragon 888. But like those fellow Android devices, the Pixel 6 lagged behind the iPhone 13 in our testing.
PhoneBuff's video paints a closer race. As the video starts, the Pixel 6 Pro leads the iPhone 13 in apps like Facebook, Starbucks, Microsoft's World and Excel, camera and Snapseed.
Things started to swing toward Apple's favor when the phones have to render a video with the app FilmoraGo. The A15 Bionic chip inside the iPhone 13 Pro Max was so fast that it made up for the lead that the Pixel 6 Pro made and pulled ahead. That lead was ultimately too much for Tensor to overcome.
Another area in which Apple also was able to pull further ahead involved games. It seems that apps that require a lot of graphics processing fare better on A15 Bionic. It's an area that Apple has particularly excelled in in the mobile space, where the likes of Qualcomm have often lagged behind.
Actually, on my podcast, FTW with Imad Khan, I spoke to games journalist Rishi Alwani last year about the mobile esports scene in India. In the episode, he revealed that pro PUBG Mobile players prefer to play on iPhone for one peculiar reason related to performance.
"They all prefer playing on iOS, because those devices run longer with less heat and less dissipation issues," said Alwani of The Mako Reactor. "So while your [tournament] sponsors are usually an Oppo or Vivo or OnePlus, most of the training happens on iOS devices, because they’re easier to work with."
So even though Android devices offered higher refresh displays, the heat dissipation during long practice sessions was a greater factor for pro players.
Either way, considering Tensor is Google's freshman effort in custom silicone, it will be exciting to see what the next generation chip will bring.